Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Think your family is a train wreck? Get a load of the Halls. George, a distant father, husband and colleague, is newly retired and suddenly consumed by his own mortality when he finds a “lesion” on his hip that he is convinced is cancer (it’s hardly that) and begins to come unglued. His wife, Jean, is carrying on with George’s former co-worker, the smoothie David Symmonds. Daughter Katie has already gone through a bad marriage and is now engaged to Ray, a good guy who loves her and her son, Jacob, but the Halls disapprove because they deem him too ordinary for their smarter, French-speaking daughter. She might be marrying Ray and she might not; either way, she’s a mess. Son Jamie is involved with Tony but is self-involved enough that the relationship is really more an on-going play date than a real relationship. While a very different book from his brilliant debut, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime¸ Haddon maintains a similar light touch as this family careens out of control while learning what it means to really love someone else.

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